>Shouldn't teachers play more of a role in designing >curricula than non teaching professors?
I do not think this is a major issue. First, there is fluidity between classroom teachers and ed school ayatollahs; lots of ayatollahs start as classroom teachers. Furthermore, there is a lot of contact and collaboration between the two groups, and at least a few classroom teachers do publish their observations and experiences in trade journals and even in what passes for peer reviewed journals.
Second, one would hope that developments in pedagogy and curricula would be based on scientific investigation. Classroom teachers are rarely in a position to conduct research. It is quite like the difference between medical researchers and medical practitioners.
Finally, the ed school ayatollahs cannot impose their theories onto the classroom teachers. On the one hand, the ayatollahs must convince the teachers (or their principals or their district superintendents) of the rightness of their theories, and on the other hand teachers (there are heroes among us) will ignore educational fatwas.
In other words, something like Feynman's Cargo Cult Culture, the Education Mafia does a remarkably good job of imitating science.
This last point constitutes one of the major problems for us and, I think, one of the major problems for you, Bob. You see, in the public debate over educational policies and practices, you think that all you have to do is muster and examine the evidence and Presto! you have made your case. Every right thinking person is persuaded by the science, and we all go riding off into the sunset, job well done.
Sadly, while you muster your evidence, they muster theirs. While you present your inferences, they present theirs. However right you may be that their evidence and their inferences do not rise above superstition, the public cannot tell the difference and in their eyes we all look like a bunch of squabbling egg heads.
Try to imagine what your debates with Paul look like to someone who has not investigated education as you have and who does not know a t-statistic if it bit him on the nose. To such a person (most of the world's population), you are not obviously right and Paul is not obviously wrong.
For the Education Mafia, this kind of forensic debate is exactly like a criminal court case. All they have to do is introduce doubt into the minds of the jury, and they win. No matter what you think of Paul's arguments (and you have made your thoughts pretty clear on this point), he wins and you lose, so far as the public debate goes, and so far as any hope goes for substantial, permanent, beneficial change in the policies and practices of public education in America.